Five months after the Republican Party passed its sweeping tax-overhaul bill, Utah Democrat Jenny Wilson called the plan nothing more “than a giveaway to the very wealthy and corporations.”
On Thursday, the Salt Lake County councilwoman and U.S. Senate candidate unveiled her proposed tax plan that would walk back some of the recent cuts.
“One of my concerns was that we had a lack of traditional process [in] passing the landmark tax-reform bill in this era,” Wilson said. “It was rushed through without debate.”
Wilson’s proposal would repeal some of the bill’s key provisions, and restore the tax rate for the highest wage earners to 39.6 percent. The December bill cut that rate to 37 percent. Some of that tax money—an estimated $100 billion, according to the proposal—could then be used to make up for cuts elsewhere, such as reducing the lowest-income bracket from 10 to 9 percent.
Wilson’s tax ideas come in the midst of her campaign for Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat, where she likely will face Republican candidate Mitt Romney in November.
When the GOP plan first passed, Wilson held an event at her campaign headquarters where she stood in front of red stockings filled with coal, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The stockings were labeled, “Children,” “Charities,” “Workers,” “Families” and more.
“Merry Christmas, everyone,” she said at the time. “I’m sorry to report the Grinch has arrived—and the Grinch is Orrin Hatch.”
Wilson’s feelings haven’t changed since then and she said her tax plan is a way to show voters what she intends to do as senator.
“I feel very much that the principled Republican Party is not in place anymore,” Wilson said. “I look back on my days in Congress, and the point was to make America thrive and help working-class people. There’s nothing more in this bill than a giveaway.”
Wilson formerly served as chief of staff for the late Rep. Bill Orton, R-Utah, who made tax reform one of his hallmark issues. She also is the daughter of former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson.
Orton’s widow, Jacquelyn Orton, spoke in support of Wilson’s plan, saying “there is a lack of principle” in today’s political world. She called Romney “one of those ideological weathervanes.”
“Bill and his team drew in people from the far-left and the far-right, the entire spectrum, for a better understanding of these issues,” Orton said. “They made progress during their congressional service but there are new and unresolved issues that must be addressed.”
Ultimately, Wilson says, she wants to avoid adding as much as an estimated $1.9 trillion to the country’s debt because of the cuts. The proposal would also reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent instead of the 21 percent the GOP approved. Before the latest overhaul, that rate was 35 percent.
“I do think that we’re not doing worse in terms of our take-home [income] ... Where we’re suffering is that deficit we’ll carry,” Wilson concluded. “If we’re going to have one bite of the apple on tax reform, we should do it right. We shouldn’t be concentrating wealth among the wealthiest and giving money away to corporations who are, in turn, giving money back to their investors rather than creating jobs.”